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Where to Find Free and Inexpensive Flu Shots

by Ryan Guina

I finally got my flu shot this week and I didn’t have to pay for it. In fact, the nurse was even kind enough to give me a piece of candy and a colorful band aid! I think getting a flu vaccination is very important, and I have had a flu shot pretty much every year for the past 10 years or so. Luckily, I haven’t gotten the flu during that time frame!

Before my wife and I found out we were eligible for free flu shots through the Veterans Affairs hospital (all US military veterans can recive free flu shots), we researched flu shots in our local area. The prices ranged anywhere from free, to $10-$28. Here is the info we found:

Local clinics, hospitals, and community centers

Some local communities offer free flu shots to select groups of people – generally elderly individuals or people who can prove financial need. For those not eligible for free shots, the prices ranged from $10-$20.  The big disadvantage to getting your shots in these locations is usually limited hours and crowded waiting rooms.

VA clinics and hospitals

The Veteran Affairs clinics and hospitals give out free flu shots to veterans every year. You have to be in their system to get a free shot. If you are not already in their system, you will need to provide a copy of your DD Form 214, which shows proof of your military service, and then get added to their system. For more information, contact your local VA facility.

Employers

Employers stand to lose a lot of money when their employees get sick, and some employers offer free flu shots to their employees. The cost of giving flu shots to every employee is almost always less than the lost productivity from having half their workforce get sick! My employer didn’t offer free flu shots, but they did offer them for around $25.

Grocery Stores and Big Box Retailers

Kroger and Wal-Mart offered flu shots in my area, and they cost $20-$25 at each location. I believe other stores such as Costco, CVS Pharmacy, and other retailers also offer flu vaccinations at certain times of the year. The cost may be a little more expensive than some other locations, but the convenience is nice.

Airports

Many large airports are now offering flu shots in the terminals. It is actually a very popular program with many businessmen, who often site a lack of time as the main reason they do not get a flu shot every year. The costs are reasonable as well, ranging from $10-$35, depending on location.

Your Insurance Company

Check your insurance policy – many plans cover vaccinations and other routine and preventive health as a part of your premiums. Other policies reduce the cost to a very reasonable price.

Stay heathy this winter! Having the flu is never a fun way to spend the holidays. The peak flu season runs from December through February, so getting vaccinated now is still a good idea.


Published or updated March 14, 2011.
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1 Savvy Frugailty

The local city/county public health clinics are great bargains for flu shots. In some cases you can get the shots for free. My flu shot is covered by insurance, but it’s considered preventative so I hardly pay anything for it at all. Still, even if you pay for your flu shot it’s cheaper than being sick!

2 Ryan

Great tips, Savvy Frugality!

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